In a surprise move, the dean of Humanities & Arts called it quits. Here’s why by Tiffany McKay
On January 28th, 2016 Dean Eric Weitz resigned as dean of Humanities and Arts, CCNY’s largest division, effective January 29th. Weitz came to the college in 2012 from the University of Minnesota, and during his tenure the dean promoted interdisciplinary collaborations across the college, sponsored new programs for students to gain major educational experiences outside of New York City and created a partnership with Stanford University.
Still, enrollment has dropped in the division over the last several years, and the budget crisis at City College hit Humanities and Arts particularly hard. Because of a decline in students the division has been forced to cut spending by $2 million.
Last week, the Faculty Senate called an emergency meeting to discuss Weitz’s resignation; President Lisa Coico and Provost Maurizio Trevisan attended and expressed surprise by what happened. “Eric came to me and told me he wanted to step down; it was very unexpected,” said Trevisan. “There was no negotiation and he never expressed that his decision was in protest.” (Weitz declined to be interviewed for this article.)
As the crisis continues to unfold, we explain what happened with the dean and what it means for the future of H&A.
Why did Dean Weitz resign?
He told the provost and department chairs that he felt that he could no longer represent the administration to the faculty and the faculty to the administration and was not able in good conscience to make a $2 million dollar permanent cut to the division of Humanities and the Arts.
Was it related to his health?
Dean Weitz has told people close to him that he’s dealing with health challenges. However, he says his resignation was not related to that.
How will the college find a replacement?
The administration is putting together a search committee as quickly as possible. It will consist of seven faculty members from H & A, seven others from outside of the division and two students. The college will most likely also hire an outside search firm and have vowed to fill the position by the start of the fall semester.
Who will take his place in the interim?
Doris Cintron has been named acting dean. Cintron is the senior associate provost for academic affairs, assessment and accreditation. She is a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent and a CCNY alumna who has served City College for over 20 years. She will not have power to change the current budget and will largely leave everything in place within the departments.
How did the faculty react to the news?
English, H & A’s largest department, released this resolution: “The department wants to register its deep distress about the resignation of Dean Eric Weitz and what it may signal for the direction of the Humanities and Arts division.”
What’s next for Dean Weitz?
He will continue at the college as a distinguished professor of history. At the Faculty Senate meeting, President Lisa called him a “wonderful scholar who will be missed.”